Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baking Fool

The MOMS Club is having a bake sale tomorrow. Well, no, that's not exactly true. We're actually having a "Home Business Expo," which I'm sort of in charge of, to raise money for a local therapeutic horseback riding center.

We've got about eight home businesses participating (including mine, which I've owned for less than a week, and don't even really know what all my products are yet!) and everyone is donating their profits to the riding center. Plus a bake sale.

It's open to the public and we're hoping to have a good turnout. But of course, we have no idea what to expect, so I'm kind of freaking out now that no one is going to show up and we're going to be stuck with a bunch of cookies, and no money for the riding center.

(Do horses eat cookies?)

But, my point is, that because, well, because I'm an idiot, evidently, I decided that - in addition to being the person sort of coordinating the whole event, and peddling my brand-new wares - I should bake brownies. And make haystacks. With the help of a not-quite-two-year-old.

Ya see what I mean about being an idiot?

And, of course, I had to make it even more complicated than it had to be. You see, here's what happened, the problem is that I started thinking and got carried away with myself. As usual.

To start at the beginning - Next Friday is the MOMS Club Halloween party, which will involve pizza, cookie decorating and trick-or-treating (around the room). And a costume contest, thanks to me.

When I first RSVP'd I volunteered to bring sprinkles for the cookies. Easy enough, right?

Then, I got to thinking that if I made sugar cookies (and costume contest prizes of some sort, for four categories and three age groups) then I could also make some for Peeper's birthday party (Which is on Halloween - but not a Halloween party. Except that she will be wearing her costume. Because it's a ladybug party.)

And because it's a ladybug party, how cute would it be to have (in addition to the ladybug cupcakes that I've already ordered, from a real baker) ladybug cookies.

My plan was to buy a bag of orange and black Halloween M&Ms, and decorate sugar cookies with red sugar (I have a bottle of that) and black M&Ms.

Cute cute cute, right?

But what will I do with the orange M&Ms? Oh, I know - I'll put them in the brownies, how cute is that?

Oh, but wait a minute. Chocolate M&Ms in chocolate brownies is kind of redundant. So, I'll use orance Reese's Pieces for the brownies, and they'll be chocolate and peanut butter. Can't go wrong with that.

Then, I'll take the leftover orange M&Ms and put them together with the leftover not-orange Reese's Pieces and put them in snack-sized baggies for trick-or-treat at the MOMS Club party.

A fine plan, right?

Except that black and orange M&Ms  do not exist.

(Yes, I might have been able to find any number of crazy colors in isolation at my mall candy store (Frappa's bought them at a similar place at her mall for baby showers) but I really wasn't up to trying that on the off chance that they'd have them.)

What they do have is "harvest mix" M&Ms, which are yellow, orange, red and brown.

Sooooo . . .

This evening, after letting Peeper "help" make the brownie batter (I think I got all the eggshells out before I baked it, and I'm sure she didn't get much salmonella from eating it raw.) Shrike and I sorted candies, while Peeper "sorted" some and mostly ate brownie batter with a spoon. (We put a tiny bit in a small bowl for her, she wasn't eating out of the mixing bowl.)

First, we separated the Reese's into orange and not-orange (dark brown and yellow - ooo, too bad it's not a bumblebee party!)

Then we separated the M&Ms into - whoa, there really aren't very many browns, are there?

Well, crap. ("Bap!" says Peeper.)

So, we separate the brown Reese's from the yellow, and added the handful of brown M&Ms to them, for the ladybug's dots.

Then, I dumped the yellow Reese's in with the not-brown M&Ms and there's a "harvest mix" of chocolate and peanutbutter, heavily weighted toward the yellow end of the spectrum, for trick-or-treating.

Except there doesn't really seem to be a lot there, and there are a ton of kids coming, so I might still have to buy another bag of each and dump them all together.

Or maybe pull out the browns first, because there aren't a ton of those either. But how many dots do a couple dozen ladybugs need?

(Plus "how many dots will a two-year-old and her Mama eat while decorating them?")

So, once the colors were all sorted, I dumped the Reese's into the batter and baked the brownies. Easy enough.

After Peeper went to sleep, it was time to cut them up and put them in little baggies to sell by the piece.

Except they did not want to come out of the pan for anything.

Maybe they baked a little longer than they should (the edges were a bit dark, but the middles still quite moist) or maybe the pans weren't as oiled as they should be (but there was oil on them, how much do they need?) or maybe it was the fucking Reese's pieces, which had sort of turned into cement.

I'm not even sure you can see their little orange shells anymore.

But they do taste good.

So, I bagged up two or three raggedy-ass pieces in each little ziplock and I'm thinking of calling them "ugly brownies" or something like that, and pretending that they're supposed to look like that.

Or more likely, I'll just bitch about how they came out, to whomever will listen.

But, back-tracking a bit - after we finished sorting candy, and Shrike took Peeper off to have a bath.

What? Oh, you're wondering why Peeper needed a bath?

Yeah, that would be why.

Anyway, while they bathed, I made butterscotch-peanutbutter "haystacks" - you know, the things with chow mein noodles.

(In the fall. If you make them in the spring. you stick jelly bean "eggs" in them and call them bird's nests.)

Which all started when I made peanut chicken the other day and, on a whim, grabbed some chow mein noodles at the grocery store, and tossed them on top.

They were a huge hit with all of us, and Shrike and I were talking about how yummy they are, and ohhh, you know you can make haystacks . . . .

And then, at the grocery store today, we saw butterscotch chips, and I said, "You know, we have those chow mein noodles. . . ." and the next thing you know . . . .
I'm really glad we decided to do those, too because, well YUM, but also because they might help me to redeem myself for the raggedy-ass brownies.


  1. Because sometimes I think we share the same-thinking brain, I actually followed and completely understood ALL of that. Because my mind goes like that.

  2. I just bought yellow and green M&Ms for B's John Deere Party. They have them at Wegmans here but totally over priced for M&Ms, like $7/lb.

  3. Love the pictures of Ellie covered head to toe in chocolate! And fyi, hubby thought the brownies were yummy!:)


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